COLLEGIANS will meet Sale in the Sale-Maffra cricket grand final next weekend.
Both grand finalists had comfortable semi-finals victories to set up the premiership decider at Bundalaguah. The foundation for both wins were laid on Saturday, with challenging targets set.
DEFENDING premier Collegians defeated Maffra by 135 runs.
After losing opener Matt Foster without a score on the board, College appeared to settle through Ben Hurley and captain Jack Tatterson. That partnership ended on 54 when Hurley was caught off Josh Davis’ bowling for 25.
Collegians was 3-56 when Tatterson was caught off the bowling of Zach Kearns for 29. The minor premier was in trouble when Jayden Allison was trapped in front of his stumps by Davis, leaving the home team 4-63.
Stuart Anderson joined Tom Hams in the middle, combining for a 65-run partnership. Davis claimed another wicket, dismissing Hams for 23.
Anderson and Isaac Love continued to put Collegians in stronger position until the former was run-out by Davis for 56. Enter Nathan King.
Veteran King, plucked from the Collegians fourth grade side, wasted no time in his return to the top grade.
King and Love put on 118 runs for the seventh wicket until Love was dismissed for 43, Davis claiming his fourth wicket with a Cooper Bailey stumping.
Collegians finished the first day 8-286, with King unbeaten on 100, his first century in first grade in 10 years. Davis sent down 33 overs, finishing for 4-99 to by Maffra’s only multiple wicket-taker.
On Sunday, Maffra was 2-8 after losing openers Heath Shingles and Daniel Bedggood.
Captain Brett Lanigan and Lee Hoptkins tried to steer the Eagles back into the match until Hopkins was adjudged leg before wicket to Anderson for 24.
The Eagles were 3-44 at this point.
Lanigan lost partners at regular intervals, with Love claiming the wickets of Davis and Josh Rurawhe.
When Lanigan was dismissed for 58, caught off the bowling of Charlie Morrison, the Eagles were 7-112.
Love added two more wickets to his tally, to finish with 4-34, as the Eagles were bowled out for 151.
Noah Hurley claimed the final two wickets of the match.
SALE was too strong for Longford, winning by 175 runs.
Ben Jones scored his first century for Sale, unbeaten on 125, to help the Swans reach 8-289 from their 80 overs.
Coming in with Sale 4-78, Jones and captain Nathan Massey put on 86 runs for the fifth wicket.
When Massey LBW to Tom Hartley for 48, the home side was 5-164 and in a strong position.
Earlier, John Mayman had helped give the Swans a solid start, scoring 33, before becoming the first of four wickets claimed by Longford skipper David Atkinson.
Jones and Matt Raidal combined for a sixth wicket partnership of 56, which ended when Raidal was caught and bowled by Atkinson for 35. But the Lizards couldn’t dismiss Jones, who ensured the Swans set an imposing target on Sunday.
The Lizards were bowled out for 114, with Ben Howes taking 3-21. Jones, Mayman and Hayden Glover each collected three wickets.
The win earned the Swans their first grand final berth in three years, and the chance to claim their first premiership since 1991.